Self-Care: How do you practice it, why is it so important and how often should it be done? This has been a topic of conversation among my fellow friends and teachers the past few weeks, which is why I decided to explore it deeper. Self-care extremely fascinates me because whatever role you play in life that is of service to others; whether, it’s your career, your role as parent, or the way you show up for others, it is easy to get depleted if there is an overwhelming imbalance of giving and not replenishing. What I have found to be so important is to be authentic with your own self-needs, set boundaries, and know when to take a step back and say no. Here are a few important tools that I have found extremely successful that I hope can spark rituals within in you in your own personal care practice!
- Body work. I have found Acupuncture, massage and chiropractic adjustments to be extremely necessary in my self care practice at least once a week. As a private yoga therapist I give a lot of hands on adjustments and as a result put my own body in compromising positions. In all the outward giving, I have found it equally as important to care for my own body so I can show up as the healthiest version of myself for my students.
- Yoga and meditation. Yoga is a practice of mindful meditation in the body, so carving out at least 30 minutes a day for myself is a necessity. Whether that means bringing in movement with Sun Salutations or sitting in a meditative stillness focusing on breath, there is so much significance in carving out this time because it allows for groundedness, stability in thoughts and yields connection to mind, body and soul.
- Healthy eating- I see food as a source of fuel for your body. If you pump your body with sugars, unhealthy fats and carbohydrates your body will be sluggish and unable to operate at its highest level. I have found that eating a balanced diet made up of whole foods consisting of vegetables and lean proteins contributes to overall self care for myself.
- Saying NO- It takes a certain level of Mindfulness to transform your life and this one challenges me the most. I have worked with my students for many years now and I am so grateful for the strong and loyal relationships that have grown and flourished over the years. While I feel so fortunate about this loyalty, sometimes the student teacher boundary needs to be drawn by vocalizing my own needs. If I am feeling burnt out I will check in with myself to see if resting and rescheduling a session serves my highest good as well as for the good of my student. Listening to your intuition and what your mind and body is communicating is an extremely powerful tool that should not be under utilized.
- Knowing your limits. I know my max capacity that I can teach is 6 classes a day. Any more than that spreads my energy too thin and doesn’t allow me to show up with the same energy as I normally would for my students. Work life balance is important as well. I used to pack my schedule with back to back classes, meetings, lunch appointments, but I have found that taking a step back to make sure my day is well rounded with self care practices, teaching and free time for friends and family contributes to my overall health/happiness.
- Vacationing or retreating- I can’t stress the importance of this one enough!! I used to feel guilty when I took time away from work, but now I encourage it for so many reasons. Carving out time to unplug, replenish and reset helps you re-calibrate to your truest and highest self. Retreating can be done on a budget too! Getting out into Mother Nature is a great way to re-connect to yourself and personal needs as well!
- Clearing energy- Naturally with all the body work I provide my students, I take on the energy of others. Because of this, I find it so important to clear energy after each session. Whether that means washing my hands after a session or doing a quick energetic swoop of my body, I find this to be extremely helpful. I also burn Sage or Palo Santo almost every morning as I drink my morning tea. The significance of this is for spiritual purification, energy clearing and healing. Wearing black crystals like tourmaline, jet, obsidian and shungite help repel and protect your energy as well.
- Digital Detox- Taking the time to detach from phone and electronics. We have become so dependent on technology and as a result are constantly connected to work, news, and different social media platforms. This one is important because any of the above mentioned become less effective with screen time.
I recognize that in today’s society it can be challenging to create space for personal care with the pace of life, busy schedules and overall commitments. I encourage you to take small steps in implementing some of the above tools to help move towards practicing your own personal care, because if you don’t take care of yourself who will? My hope is that the eight tools provided shares guidance on how to fill your own cup!